Friday, August 31, 2012

The Case of the Deadly Paintbrush

I'm having trouble posting from home again.  Oh well.

I'm trying a new product in my garden.  It's vine and stump killer.

I normally don't use much in the way of chemicals of any sort.  I try to spray the peach and cherry trees at least once in spring.  I don't always get around to it, and sometimes the leaves curl up and drop off in protest of all the fungal diseases even when I do spray.  But everything else, from black-spotted roses to zucchinis dusted with powdery mildew is on its own.  I think that we have the yummiest worm-ridden chemical-free apples in Clark County.

I think something snapped when I faced round three (this year) of cutting back blackberries out of my largest garden bed.  And we're not talking some unsightly runners.  I'm talking monster canes, some of which verge on an inch thick.  I cut these bastards down to the ground not two months ago and they're back and just as huge.  When I look at the stumps, the new cane comes out of the side of the old one just under the cut and just as wide as the original vine.

It's totally, totally evil.  I kinda have to admire it, though.  I wish all my roses were this vigorous.

So I went to the stinky aisle at our store and got this stuff.  You cut the vine and then use a paint brush to brush it on the end.  I've been dabbing it on the leaves too whenever there are some left below the cut.

The stuff didn't have a nasty smell, or make the vine blacken or instantly shrivel or anything.  Mostly it just made it wet.  I'm juggling an open container of poison and a toxic paintbrush around plants I love, cutting a few vines at a time, switching the brush to my other hand, wetting it, and dabbing the cut ends before I lose track of what I've done and not done ... and of course I'm halfway through this before I remember someone recommending adding food coloring so that I can see what's been done and not done.  A couple of times I felt something brush my off hand, only to see a valued plant, and I'm scanning the leaves looking for wet spots in case I have to prune off the poisoned region right away.  Not fun.  And once I almost fell over and that could have meant poison splashing everywhere.

But I'm determined.  I'm going to make this work.  I've done my job (mostly--I have a long way to go) and now it's the poison's turn.  Justify my labor and make my time and worries worth it.  Kill 'em, kill 'em all, down to the root.  Let's have a beautiful, blackberry vine free spring next year.  Or if not free of all those little guys I'll probably miss, let's at least not have to deal with MegaBramble.

Don't let me down or I swear I'll never, ever buy you again, you nasty, nasty chemical you.  Deal?  Deal.

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